Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Almond Slices

- J. den Boer

In Hartman’s grocery store in the baking aisle
Checking for sliced almonds proves quite the trial
I finally locate bags of cashews and pistachios
but I only see regular almonds, with the skinless ones below
I hover for some time, scanning the shelf with utmost care,
When fortunately for me, a worker happens there
“Excuse me sir, I hate to be a pest
but I have a recipe for which sliced almonds are best,
kindly tell me where I can find this prize.”
He scans the shelf with sharp youthful eyes,
“I see them not,” he points to an empty part of the rack
“Hold on please sir, I’ll check for these almonds in the back.”
I thank him as I gaze forlornly at the shelf
Pondering the time it would take to slice the almonds myself.
A gentleman slowly ambles through my section
Searching the shelves for some unknown confection.
His eyes stare intently past where I stand,
I move and look to where his eyes have scanned.
“Are you seeking sliced almonds?” I point to the empty spot,
“he should be back soon to let us know if they have them or not.”
He thanks me with a smile and a nod of appreciation,
And I grin to myself at this coincidental situation.
For what are the chances that both of our prey
Happens to be sliced almonds at this time of this day?
The worker returns shortly carrying nothing with him
He shrugs his shoulders, “the warehouse is full to the brim,
And I could not locate the sliced almonds anywhere.”
I smile warmly, “Thanks for trying, I appreciate your care.”
I grab a bag of skinless almonds from their perch,
And say, not wishing to leave my fellow almond seeker in the lurch,
“I can grind these up, no, it won’t be as pretty to view.
The chunky almonds are not the same, but it will have to do.”
I tried my best to get those almond slices, no jest.
Some would have given up, but I did my best.
So I am honest when I say that I did not mean to provoke
with the chunks rather than slices of almonds in the boeter koek.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

“It is an honour to meet you, sir. Read your screenplay and, I must say, I loved it.”

“Thank you, I’m happy to hear that.”

“Now, you might not be familiar with the way the movie industry works, but I have a few suggestions for the screenplay that will make it, shall we say . . . a little more marketable.”


“The, uh, protagonist, what’s his name?”


“Yeah, interesting character - needs a friend - can you write black humour?”

“You mean dark humour? There is some of that in there.”

“No, I mean black humour, like Eddie Murphy-type humour. We need a wild and crazy black friend for Victor.”


“A black friend, you know, to appeal to the urban audience. Can you write black humour?”

“Victor wouldn’t be the type to have a wild and crazy friend, though. Plus, I wrote him as a slight racist.”

“Yeah, maybe nix the racism.”

“But he’s supposed to be unlikable.”

“Yeah, about that, maybe you could give him better manners, make him interact with people more positively?”

“But the point of the screenplay is how this ugly character finds redemption through Lisette.”

“Yeah, Lisette, great character, can her friend, Dolores, be a little more quirky? I was thinking of maybe an Ellen Degeneres type . . . except really fat. Fat people are funny. Maybe we can have Ellen Degeneres in a fat suit?”


“Better yet, a black Ellen Degeneres in a fat suit?”

“ . . .”

“Alright, we’ll leave that on the table maybe.”

“I don’t think so.”

“On the table.”


“Alright, I’ll put it down as a possibility then.”

“I don’t . . .”

“Also, sorry for interrupting, but not a whole lot is happening in this screenplay. Maybe we could introduce a side-plot to liven things up a bit.”

“What do you have in mind? I think the minimalist tone of this screenplay is key.”


“Well, yes, Dolores has immigration issues, but it’s not really stressed in the screenplay.”

“No, no, I mean aliens invading from outer space. We could have Victor and Lisette working out their issues while running away from the invading aliens.”

“No aliens.”

“You’re right, that’s ridiculous.”

“Thank you.”

“It will fit in a lot more to the underlying theme of life and death if we have zombies.”

“There’s no underlying theme of life and death in the screenplay.”

“You can add that, though, right? No sweat. It’ll be a sort of post-apocolyptic art film, the critics will eat that up.”

“No zombies.”

“Zombies are in right now.”

“No zombies.”

“Vampires it is then. We’ll milk this Twilight thing for all it’s worth.”

“Vampires? No. This isn’t science fiction or horror, it’s a drama.”

“Well, vampires are more of a romance thing now and, of course, Victor and Lisette have quite the connection. Victor can be the ugly vampire character who is redeemed by the charm of Lisette. Sound good?”

“No, that’s horrible.”

“You’re right, you’re right, too close to the Twilight thing. Lisette can be the vampire and Victor finds redemption through her.”

“No vampires.”

“Genetic weapons that wreak havoc on the population?”

“No. Out of the question.”

“Alright, alright. I get it, you want something more realistic.”

“Yes, thank you for recognizing that.”

“We’ll go the Day After Tomorrow or 2012 route and have a massive global disaster.”

“That’s not realistic.”

“We’ll tone it down, of course.”


“Alright, alright . . . but what if Dolores isn’t a fat black lesbian?”

“She’s not.”

“What I mean is, what if she’s a psychopathic killer?”

“No, that wouldn’t work.”

“Yeah, we need her humour.”

“She isn’t . . .”

“Unless, unless she’s a fat black lesbian psychopathic killer!”


Who deh?